Lovable "casual" game Plants vs. Zombies was updated the other day, and among the changes, a complete retooling of zombie adversaries who look, dress and dance like late King of Pop Michael Jackson. The "Dancing Zombie's" moves and clothing (tight pants, red leather jacket, white socks) were a little too close for comfort for MJ's estate, who requested that Popcap games remove the zombie from the game, even though the company clearly states that any resemblance between him and persons living or dead is coincidental... sure.
Here's how Popcap explained it to MTV Games.
"The Estate of Michael Jackson objected to our use of the 'dancing zombie' in PLANTS vs. ZOMBIES based on its view that the zombie too closely resembled Michael Jackson. After receiving this objection, PopCap made a business decision to retire the original 'dancing zombie' and replace it with a different 'dancing zombie' character for future builds of PLANTS vs.ZOMBIES on all platforms. The phase-out and replacement process is underway."
While Popcap could have almost certainly used a parody of such a well-known public figure in their games, I can understand why they would have changed it: It's not as if the awesomeness of that game hinges on the appearance of that one enemy. I can also understand why the Jackson estate would move to protect the image of Michael Jackson in the video game space. There is a Michael Jackson dance game coming out, after all... if it's as fun as Plants Vs. Zombies, I'll be surprised, though.
Source: MTV Multiplayer